CV NEWS FEED // Leftists in Santa Barbara, CA, are continuing to defend a former teacher more than six years after he assaulted an immigrant student in the classroom.
Daily Wire investigative journalist Luke Rosiak reported Tuesday that the victim, Maria, “says she was abandoned by ideologues who often talk about victimhood and female rights after she was abused at the hands of a black teacher with deep ties to the activist left.”
Rosiak described disgraced social science and “ethnic studies” teacher Matef Harmachis as “a socialist and black nationalist.” Harmachis had a history of misconduct and “was repeatedly put on leave by the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD)” before the assault.
The teacher was written up for “discussing sex with teen girls and physically assaulting or threatening students” but was still allowed to return to the classroom. Maria later indicated that he touched her buttocks on multiple occasions.
The final straw was on May 4, 2017, when Harmachis came behind Maria during study hall and “growled in [the student’s] ear like an animal and then bit or nibbled her ear” for 10 seconds, according to California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Police said Harmachis admitted to “kissing [Maria] on the left ear fairly early on in the interview” and said, “kiss, bite, whatever.”
After all of this, Harmachis only received one day in jail. His license to teach was eventually revoked – nearly a full three years after the violent incident.
Earlier this year, Maria received an almost-$1-million settlement from the school district following a lawsuit. At the time, her attorney Morgan A. Stewart observed that he had “never seen a case where a school district ignored so many red flags and allowed a dangerous individual to have unfettered access to vulnerable students.”
Stewart specializes in childhood sexual abuse law and has worked on many high-profile cases involving schools.
Despite these facts, many radical leftists to this day continue to defend the ex-teacher and push the narrative that he is in fact the victim.
In May, Rosiak reported that Harmachis,
who is a black American but contends that he is “African” and adopted the name of an Egyptian god, blamed racism for actions against him and, in a previous email to The Daily Wire, called the victim, a DACA recipient, a “Karen” for reporting the assault to authorities.
Local far-left activists published a pair of op-eds in The Santa Barbara Independent siding with the abuser.
One written by Marcelino Sepulveda “on behalf of concerned educators in Santa Barbara County” purported “to present the actual facts of a case in which the media has consistently demonized one side, without the benefit of thorough investigation.”
Sepuldeva claimed that when Harmachis assaulted Maria he “sought to comfort an upset student and gave her a hug and kiss on her head.”
In the other op-ed, Sara Bazan and Barbara Parmet allege that Harmachis losing his license to teach was a signal of
dangerous times, especially for people of color, since white supremacists have become emboldened along with wealthy racists who are doing all they can to crush the progress our country has made towards justice for all people regardless of race, gender, religion, or ability.
In response to her abuser’s defense campaign, Maria said: “These people are really unhinged. When I saw those articles I was really scared for my safety.”
“I don’t understand why I have to be villainized so they can feel better about their ideology,” Maria added:
To call me a liar makes them feel better because he can still continue to be part of that organization. When in reality they’re giving a pedophile legitimate access to what they want, which is underage children.
Rosiak wrote that according to Stewart, “Harmachis used far-left activism as a cover to prey on students in Santa Barbara, a city filled with wealthy white activists and impoverished Hispanics.”
The sexual abuse attorney told The Daily Wire in May that Harmachis’
argument about racism was always a red herring to cover for his behavior and allow him to do whatever he wanted and then if someone pushed back, scream racism. I think that’s the worst type of behavior possible from an individual who is teaching kids, to scream bias to justify your actions.
Stewart said that he did not “see any evidence of racism” against Harmachis, but instead “saw staff accommodating him at every turn to avoid that accusation.”
In October 2020, following his termination, Harmachis and his wife Diane Fujino hosted an online event titled “Black Power Afterlives: From the Black Panther Party to Black Lives Matter.” A recording of the one-hour event exists online.
The event description identified Fujino as a “professor of Asian American Studies and author of several books on Asian American activism and Afro-Asian radicalism.”
Rosiak received many accolades for breaking the 2021 story of Loudon County Public Schools’ attempted coverup of the rape of a 15-year-old female student by a male student in the girls’ bathroom. The rape and subsequent coverup notably occurred after the Virginia school district embraced pro-“trans” policies. The attacker in the case wore a skirt.
Many observers, in addition to Rosiak himself, noted that the journalist’s investigative work set the stage for then-candidate Glenn Youngkin’s narrow upset win over the heavily favored Democrat in that year’s Virginia Gubernatorial Election. The story quickly became national news and was viewed as a turning point that helped shift momentum in the Republican’s favor.